Saying “I Love You”
Saying the words “I love you” to those we love is so important. Living love each day is what it’s all about in our faith life and in family life. Hearing the words from the person we need to hear it from is consoling. I can think of many times in my life when I walked out the door or ended a phone call where the words “I love you” have been heart-warming. Those words also appear on social media quite often and in text messaging with loved ones. It’s a way of conveying the feelings we have for our family and our friends. It is a blessing.
At the same time, saying those words are an indication of something much greater. Even greater than we can imagine, the words “I love you” also indicate God’s love. God’s love is way beyond a phrase or Facebook comment of congratulations. God’s love points to the love of Jesus Christ. He is one who has sacrificed his life for all of us so that the love we share will never end. This is more than something to ponder quickly. This is truly what life is all about. Life is about God’s love.
Moving Beyond Congratulatory Love
In expanding a bit about our current culture, the culture seems to be moving away from one-on-one personal friendships and community bonds as compared to times of the past. Social media and technology are great blessings in many ways. But it seems we have replaced the family visit or warm phone conversation with the congratulatory Facebook comment or quick text. It seems we are feeding each other’s egos instead of actually spending time together. Moving beyond congratulatory love is a way of making room for Jesus in our lives and the lives of those we love.
The words “I love you,” “your photo is beautiful,” and “have a wonderful time,” seen on social media, are kind words. The caution is we may be taking the easy way instead of making room for precious time with relatives and friends. Finding time for souls in need is of even greater importance. Many are depressed and lonely. Many don’t feel the connection of one good friend to talk to. In moving beyond congratulatory love such as quick Facebook comments, we imitate Jesus as he took the time to be with lonely people needing a smile or some attention. It is truly God’s will for us to take the time to be with people. God wishes for us to move beyond the “pat on the back” on social media to reaching out in person to the ones we love and others.
Moving Beyond Our Own Will for Praises
In “moving beyond congratulatory love” we discover what we have been seeking. When our lives begin to slow down for whatever reason, we recognize the faces of those God has provided for us in our lives. Sometimes we will be surprised at who God sends to us. Sometimes God provides people to come to our aid in a surprising way. In our suffering, we find the value of real human relationship with those who care. I think this is the beginning of finding the heart of Christ, real human love. This is sacrificial love. Love that takes the time to be with others. Love that takes the time to give and not pass by.
Giving Real Love to Others
The Holy Father has spoken these words about love:
“Today people are suffering from poverty, but also from lack of love.”
As short as this statement is, it speaks a lot to us about real human love. Many people lack love. Many feel they are missing the element of real life relationships. Instead they settle for social media comments and “likes.” The Holy Father points to the fact in his statement that suffering is sometimes more than physical pain. Of course, physical pain, lack of food, water and shelter is very real for many of the suffering. Lacking love and the feeling cared about by God is a desire all of us have in our lives. All the congratulations the world offers, crowds of social media friends or positive vibes do not erase the fact that we desire sincere care and sacrifice. Giving to others sacrificially in our families and in our lives, helps us to experience this love! In giving love, we receive it. This is the love we desire. We can help others to feel the love of Christ in a greater way when we move beyond superficial love.
Saying “I Love You” and Living it Too!
As we move into a more sacrificial love for those around us and for God, we can experience true love in a greater way. It does not mean we stop saying the special words “I love you” to those we love. We can show it too! Experiencing special moments together makes all the difference. I have found in-person moments, phone calls that make a difference and time spent together is the love of Christ inside me. I can give this back to other people with the help of Christ. In our own families and to those closest to us, it is so important.When We Don’t Receive Love in Return
Coming to terms with those who do not reciprocate is expected. When we do things within God’s will such as reaching out to people who suffer, we can know this is God at work. It also helps to accept the fact that the false relationships in our lives may end. When we entrust the false friendships of our past to God, it is the right thing to do to leave the past where it belongs. Unfortunately, we may even have to do this with some of our relatives. Finding our own dignity is realizing we don’t need to be a doormat to some who do not respect our personhood. It is hard to make a split but sometimes necessary to restore our own psychological and spiritual health. The Lord will lead us to a better path and good relationships. God does not wish for us to be bullied or put down by others who do not respect us. Just as Jesus prayed, we can pray for our enemies and for God’s love to enter fully into their lives.
Prayer is the Answer
Prayer and trust in God with all of our relationships is always the answer. We must leave the past where it belongs. We should keep loving others, and we should let the Lord lead our lives. Our greatest blessing comes when we realize that if we leave things to God to work out, in the end we will be blessed in an even greater way in the future. Everything in our lives is in the hands of Jesus. Prayer is the answer in all we do!
Let us pray together to be led. We pray to help us to recognize the value of “I love you” and show it in a sacrificial way far beyond words. Making it real is what it’s all about with the help of Jesus, Our Lady and all of the saints. We have the Church as our rock. Let us go forward to love in even greater ways with the help of the Holy Spirit each day of our lives!
Copyright 2017 Anne DeSantis